Ethical procurement

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2019 National LGBT+ Conference
26 July 2019

Conference recognises that modern slavery is usually hidden and that there are high risks of slavery linked to the global supply chains of the goods and services we procure.

Conference applauds UNISON’s commitment to ensuring there is no slavery or human trafficking within any part of its business or its supply chains.

This is an increasingly important issue for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender plus (LGBT+) members as we see many more companies producing Pride branded merchandise. Conference also notes that in summer Primark, the international retailer, partnered with ILGA World, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, in launching Primark’s “Feeling Proud” collection with Primark pledging to donate £150,000 to ILGA World in support of their work for LGBTI rights. This will help ILGA World conduct research and campaign for the repeal of discriminatory legislation, develop ways for LGBTI communities to collectively advance equality worldwide and continue to provide support for their 1500+ member organisations in over 150 countries.

Conference believes that an important guide and influencer in this area of work is the Ethical Trade Initiative’s (ETI) Due Diligence Framework and notes that UNISON has a Supplier Code of Conduct which includes the ETI Base Code and requires compliance with the Modern Slavery Act.

The ETI Base Code requires the following:

1)Employment is freely chosen

2)Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected

3)Working conditions are safe and hygienic

4)Child labour shall not be used

5)Living wages are paid

6)Working hours are not excessive

7)No discrimination is practiced

8)Regular employment is provided

9)No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed

Conference is proud of UNISON’s international work supporting

workers in the global south to access their rights, campaigning in support of public services and corporate accountability, and working with international partners to challenge labour, LGBT+ and human rights’ violations .

Conference notes that UNISON has developed a four year programme on ethical procurement to tackle exploitation and modern slavery in public service goods global supply chains. This aims to develop a social partnership ethical public procurement model, and includes curriculum based learning and a programme to train branch activists to take up these issues with public service employers . Four high risk supply chains will be focused on; food, work wear, electronics and construction. The local government service group will be the year one pilot, but all service groups will eventually be covered.

Conference therefore calls on the National LGBT+ Committee to:

1) Continue to raise awareness of ethical procurement amongst LGBT+ members using UNISON Guidance and research

2. Work with the International Section to raise awareness of the ethical procurement programme, encourage LGBT+ members to participate and promote the curriculum-based learning

3. Encourage branch and regional groups and caucuses to discuss ethical trading with LGBT+ organisations they work with, including Pride committees